Exploring barriers to domestic violence screening among culturally and linguistically diverse and migrant women in a regional midwifery setting.
Background: Women are at an increased risk of experiencing domestic violence (DV) from an intimate partner during the antenatal and post-partum period, contributing to poorer health outcomes for mother and baby. The antenatal period presents a critical window of opportunity for screening and intervention. In Australia, screening guidelines vary across state and territory health departments. NSW Health has introduced compulsory antenatal DV screening, however, screening appears to be more commonly deferred for women of CALD and non-English speaking backgrounds suggesting barriers to screening.
Aim: To identify barriers to undertaking DV screening of culturally and linguistically diverse (CALD) and migrant women in a regional setting
Methods: Qualitative semi-structured interviews were conducted with midwives who undertook antenatal DV assessment at a regional hospital in rural New South Wales serving a high CALD and migrant population.
Findings: Eleven midwives participated in the interviews. Four emergent themes were apparent as barriers to DV screening: communications challenges, including literacy and use of interpreters, issues with maternity services including lack of flexibility and continuity, a woman's family issues and cultural difficulties.
Conclusion: The antenatal period presents a critical window for screening and intervention for those living with intimate partner violence from CALD and migrant groups. While it is acknowledged that there are complex language, maternity service, family and cultural barriers that impact on the ability to undertake screening in a regional setting, recognising these is the first step in addressing them and being able to intervene to break the DV cycle.
culturally and linguistically diverse (CALD) and migrant women, domestic violence, midwives